Japan welcomes steel US tariff rollback, calls on complete removal
Tokyo, Feb 8 (EFE).- Japan on Tuesday welcomed the United States’ decision to ease tariffs on Japanese steel imposed by the government of former US President Donald Trump and called for the removal of sanctions on aluminum.
Top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno described the decision at a press conference on Tuesday as a step towards resolving the trade tension between the two countries on account of the tariffs imposed in 2018 but added that Japan will continue to urge the US to withdraw them completely.
The agreement, which will take effect on Apr. 1, stipulates that a maximum of 1.25 million metric tons of steel – the average amount of Japanese steel imported into the US in 2018 and 2019 – may be exported to the US annually without being subjected to the 25 percent tariff imposed by Trump.
However, the tariffs would return if that volume is exceeded and if the steel is not entirely produced in Japan.
The deal also does not include an exemption of the 10 percent tariff Trump imposed on aluminum.
Matsuno said that Japan was also asking for a roll back of the tariffs on aluminum since they are inconsistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization, a position shared by the Japanese Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda.
The requirement for the steel to be entirely produced in Japan is viewed as a measure to prevent China from evading those tariffs by exporting to the US through Japan.
Towards that end, Washington and Tokyo pledged in a joint statement on Tuesday to take concrete steps to fight excess capacity in the global steel and aluminum sectors and adopt measures to achieve decarbonization. EFE